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Pervy Archbishop Fails Upward

How do you keep rising high in the Catholic Church after you get into a world of trouble? It helps to have a friend in the highest place. Here’s the latest from Buenos Aires: [1]

Bishop Gustavo Oscar Zanchetta, one of Pope Francis’ first episcopal appointments, has been formally charged with alleged sexual abuse of two seminarians in the Diocese of Oran in northern Argentina.

According to the prosecutor’s office in Oran, Zanchetta was charged with “aggravated continuous sexual abuse committed by a minister of a religious organization.” He has been forbidden to have contact with the seminarians in question or their family members.

In 2015, Zanchetta was accused of engaging in “strange behavior” when a diocesan official discovered pornographic images on the archbishop’s cellphone. Pornographic images of men were found, allegedly sent to unknown parties, as well as Zanchetta’s nude selfies. Reportedly, there were no images of children found.

Vatican authorities have twice stated [2] that they had no knowledge of Zanchetta’s alleged crimes until 2018. However, Fr. Juan José Manzano [3] (the former vicar general of Oran) disagrees, saying he reported the pornographic images in 2015 and again in 2017.


A complaint was raised against Zanchetta in 2016, accusing the archbishop of “problematic behavior” with seminarians. He is alleged to have entered their bedrooms at night and requested massages. Also, he is alleged to have offered alcohol to the seminarians. Internal church documents [4] suggest that Pope Francis knew of accusations against Zanchetta before transferring him to Rome.

Yes. The pope spirited his friend Zanchetta out of Argentina and created a job for him in the Curia. But it wasn’t enough to keep the handsy scamp out of trouble with the law back home.

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8 Comments To "Pervy Archbishop Fails Upward"

#1 Comment By Will On June 11, 2019 @ 7:11 am

We see this again and again. Homosexual Bishops going after young seminarians. You wonder what percentage of Bishops are homosexual? It has got to be very high.

The Church has always had gay men in the priesthood, but in the 1960’s and 1970’s, something happened, and the numbers of gay men going into the priesthood increased dramatically. The result is that homosexuality in the priesthood reached critical mass and the lavender mafia became very strong. The result is catastrophe.

Where do we go from here? Celibacy does not cause sexual perversion, but it does shrink the pool of men who would consider the priesthood. A lot of “normal” men who like adult women cannot be celibate for life. So the pool shrinks and you wind up with men who have sexual issues. I have heard on a couple of occasions, people saying of a young gay relative, well since he doesn’t like girls, he may as well be a priest.

I have also heard priests say off the record, that the Church must start ordaining “normal” married men. The Bishops refuse to even discuss the issue. Yes, that’s a great way to deal with a problem: refuse to even discuss it.

#2 Comment By Bernie On June 11, 2019 @ 8:07 am

From a cited post: “According to El Tribuno, the newspaper of Salta, a province in northern Argentina, three seminarians accused Zanchetta of abuse and later left the seminary. Ten other seminarians were intimidated to remain silent about the abuse they had witnessed, said the report.”

Perhaps they won’t be so silent at the trial of Zanchetta.

Boy, Francis has a knack for promoting the very best, time after time after time.

#3 Comment By Ted On June 11, 2019 @ 1:07 pm

What about Uncle Ted’s former roomie, the Sgt. Schultz of the D.C. chancery?


Bugger me (you should pardon the expression) if he didn’t get a job in Rome just when a D.A. might want to have a little confab with him.

#4 Comment By Susan Peterson On June 11, 2019 @ 2:16 pm

Will says,”A lot of normal men who like adult women, cannot be celibate for life”. Yes they can, if God calls them to it, with His grace. Making statements like this is by implication rather insulting to those strongly masculine and heterosexual men who are right now living their vows of celibacy. And what does it say to homosexual men all of whom the Church asks to live lives of chaste celibacy? If God asks something of us it can be done with His grace. As Christians we do not live only natural lives, but supernatural ones. That some people have, through not turning to God to strengthen them in their weakness, failed miserably, does not disprove this.

#5 Comment By Augustine On June 11, 2019 @ 5:55 pm

Did Zanchetta get diplomatic immunity from Francis in his promotion? If so, isn’t that aiding and abetting a criminal to evade the law and using the Holy See as a sanctuary for criminal perverts homosexually bent? An inquiring mind wants to know.

#6 Comment By David J. White On June 11, 2019 @ 9:54 pm

Will says,”A lot of normal men who like adult women, cannot be celibate for life”. Yes they can, if God calls them to it, with His grace.

Amen. Seriously. No one has ever died from not having sex, as much as current popular culture tries to persuade us otherwise.

#7 Comment By Anne On June 12, 2019 @ 1:34 pm

The “internal documents” link takes you to a LifeSite news story with little information, much less internal documentation. If you want detailed reporting and perspective, go to Crux Nos, where Ines San Martin in Rome has been covering this story in depth since late 2018.

In a nutshell, Pope Francis acted to remove Zanchetta from his diocese in Oran, Argentina because reports had reached Rome that Zanchetta’s fellow bishops found him hard to deal with, and a diocesan employee had discovered bizarre pictures on his phone, which he claimed had been planted when his phone was hacked. Some say Francis believed him without question, but his action in removing the bishop would have been proper protocol regardless. He also sent him on a religious retreat, and carved out a position for him as a real-estate financial consultant at the Vatican, far from a high position in Vatican government. He was clearly being watched.

As one source told San Martin, the problem for the next couple years was that no one in Argentina seemed clear on the judicial nature of Zanchetta’s offenses: Was he guilty of the kinds of sexual abuses punishable under canon and secular law, which required the victims to be underage, or was he essentially a “perv,” somebody who should not be functioning as priest or prelate, but who otherwise could only be dealt with by therapy or religious conversion. (Shades of the MacCarrick conundrum.) Francis, for his part, kept sending him on retreats.

When reports reached Rome from the Buenos Aires archbishop, Francis’s trusted friend and successor, saying there were now credible allegations by seminarians that Zanchetta had both harrassed and abused them, Francis asked the Disciplinary Commission for the Curia, which investigates misbehavior by anyone who works at the Vatican, to open a formal inquiry.
And again he sent Zanchetta on retreat. When the report came back, the situation seemed clear, and the Pope forwarded it to the congregation that investigaes and sets penalties for clerical sex abuse, the Congr. for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Then, on June 6, the Vatican was notified by authorities in Argentina that two seminarians had filed charges against Zanchetta, who was sent back there for psychological examination, and to stand trial.

The Vatican is still struggling, but apparently learning, from this and the MacCarrick case how to properly handle cases that haven’t seemed readily punishable under canon law. Too many cases like this that seem open-and-shut in hindsight, especially once cases involving minors and other more blatant forms of harassment and coercion arise, have been essentially ignored or treated as psychological problems or character flaws. Zanchetta’s fell slightly in the middle, and he happened to have a friend in the Pope, whose attempts to help now look clumsy at best.

At 80, Francis himself came of age and served as the leader of a religjous community within a culture of clericalism and paternalism. Taking care of one’s “spiritual sons” has too often been the first impulse to the exclusion of listening to a litany of accusations against them. Ironically, breaking with that world and those skewed values has been the goal of this current pope since his personal epiphany during the days of the notorious Argentine junta. And yet his own first impulse remains to defend his friends. Still, what I find redeeming in Francis is his second impulse to think again, which led to a fairly dramatic turnabout on the Chilean crisis, and has made him the first pope to really face the challenge of the worldwide sexual abuse crisis full on, including the blowback that inevitably entails.

#8 Comment By Anne On June 12, 2019 @ 1:37 pm

Obviously, my last comment should have referred to Crux Now, not Crux Nos, which Autocorrect seems to accept as a real thing.